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It seems that barriers to entry in hardware innovation are getting higher and higher due to high risk industrial efforts. In the meantime barriers to entry in software are getting lower and lower due to improvement of toolings in both software and hardware.

On the other hand due to the exponential growth of software dependency, "bad ideas" in software development are getting harder and harder to remove and the social cost of "green field" software innovation is also getting higher and higher.

How do we solve these issues in the coming future?

I don't know.

But e.g. the possibilities for "parametric" parallel computing solutions (via FPGAs and other configurable HW) have not even been scratched (too many people trying to do either nothing of just conventional stuff).

Some of the FPGA modules (like the BEE3) will slip into a Blades slot, etc.

Similarly, there is nothing to prevent new SW from being done in non-dependent ways (meaning the initial dependencies to hook up into the current world can be organized to be gradually removeable, and the new stuff need not have the same kind of crippling dependencies).

For example, a lot can be done -- especially in a learning curve -- if e.g. a subset of Javascript in a browser (etc) can really be treated as a "fast enough piece of hardware" (of not great design) -- and just "not touch it with human hands". (This is awful in a way, but it's really a question of "really not writing 'machine code' ").

Part of this is to admit to the box, but not accept that the box is inescapable.

Thank you Alan for your deep wisdom and crystal vision.

It is the best online conversation I have ever experienced.

It also reminded me inspiring conversations with Jerome Bruner at his New York City apartment 15 years ago. (I was working on some project with his wife's NYU social psychology group at the time.) As a Physics Ph.D. student, I never imaged I could become so interested in Internet and education in the spirit of Licklider and Doug Engelbart.


You probably know that our mutual friend and mentor Jerry Bruner died peacefully in his sleep a few weeks ago at the age of 100, and with much of his joie de vivre beautifully still with him. There will never be another Jerry.

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